COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Police Chief Elaine Bryant called for the public's help identifying the suspects responsible for a southeast Columbus shooting that left two young siblings and a 22-year-old man dead.
Detective Terry Kelly with Columbus police said investigators believe the shooting that killed 22-year-old Charles Wade, 9-year-old Demetrius Wall'neal and 6-year-old Londynn Wall'neal was a targeted attack.
The three were found inside a vehicle riddled with several bullet holes near the Winchester Lakes apartment complex on Tuesday night.
According to Kelly, the rounds that were fired were targeted directly at the car. Multiple shell casings were found at the scene, Kelly said, adding police have confirmed the incident was not a drive-by shooting.
"This was not a random act of violence," said Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant.
According to police, the three victims were inside the vehicle when two armed suspects approached and began firing without any warning. Police said the suspects then got into a waiting vehicle driven by a third suspect and drove off.
"We know people know more, and there's more information out there that can help us get these violent monsters off the street before they kill other children," said Ginther. "We need your help."
Leaders and community members throughout Columbus took to social media Wednesday to express their outrage in response to news of the shooting, calling it “devastating” and a “senseless crime.”
A spokesperson with Canal Winchester Schools confirmed both children were siblings and students in the district.
In a statement, district officials said they are "shocked and heartbroken" over the loss, adding grief counselors will be available for those in need.
"This should never have happened," Chief Bryant said. "A mother should be preparing to wrap Christmas presents for her child."
“It can never be normal for 6- and 9-year-olds to die in this community. Violence and homicides are unacceptable. Babies facing violent deaths in our city cannot be tolerated,” Ginther said.
Detective Kelly has asked anyone with information about the shooting to call his personal number at 614-778-9706.
But data reviewed by 10 Investigates shows young people have died consistently to violence.
Since 2017, 171 homicide victims have been under the age of 21. That same data reviewed by 10 Investigates found that 26 victims have been under the age of 12.
Our recent investigation also found that a street code that pushes silence and “no snitching” over cooperating with police has plagued police from solving homicides. You can watch that investigation here.
10 Investigates found a series of “dead zones” areas of the city where murders go unsolved. Several families we interviewed said they believe a street code that pushes “no snitching” is why their loved ones’ cases remain unsolved.
10 Investigates asked Bryant about the struggling with “no snitching” and if that was frustrating for city leaders dealing with a record number of homicides.
Her response: “… the people that know what happened. We want you to speak up. People who feel like snitching is a bad thing. It’s not about snitching. It’s about having respect for the families that are going through what they are going through and speaking up and allowing them to give them some justice.
This isn’t snitching…. This is about humanity.”
You can watch Wednesday's briefing in the player below: